Well, it arrived.  That most controversial of holidays.  There are those who absolutely do not participate.  Some who do but “nothing scary, kids.”  Then there are the rest who embrace the evening with arms and pumpkin-shaped buckets wide open – let the sugar rush begin – even IF it IS a school night.

I am not about to go into the theological aspects of participation in Halloween festivities…like I would want to step into THAT quagmire…but, as I was handing out candy to all who came to my door Tuesday night, I began noticing the variety of ways kids asked for their treats.  And their responses once they got them.

I always laugh to myself at the ones in the strollers.  Little legs get tired (or want to run away into the dark) so mommies and daddies keep the dressed-up nice and secure in their wheeled conveyances.  The awkward part is that these kids don’t usually know what is actually going on and typically are not the ones asking for candy – mom or dad is.  And then mom or dad is the one saying “Thank you” in that sing-song kiddie voice meant to reflect that of their child.  So basically, I am putting a sugary treat into a bucket held by mom or dad and then receiving a word of appreciation from same while toddler sits back and observes the whole process somewhat benignly.

Then there are the kids (usually a bit older) who run up to my door and ring the doorbell AT LEAST two hundred times between the first ring and the time I get to the door.  Okay, okay, I’m coming I say as I open my front door to a chorus of “Trick or Treat’s” and a sea of gaping bags, pillow cases and plastic containers.  These kiddos look critically inside their bags to see if what they have received is really what they wanted and are gone almost before the candy has been dispensed, sometimes yelling “thank you” over their shoulders as they run to the next house.

But, I admit it, I have favorites.  This year, they were embodied by one little ninja warrior who was about three.  I opened my door and looked down at this little boy who immediately stepped right into my entry way, eyes gleaming bright and confident.  “Trick or Treat!” he cried and held out his bucket confidently, smiling with joy.  As I placed his “treat” inside his little pumpkin (and wondered why his parents let such an adorable and bold young man walk to my front door unaccompanied) this little cutie peered around me and gazed into my house.  “You have a reaaaally nice house” he said sweetly before saying thank you for the candy and bouncing back to his parents waiting on the sidewalk.

This month your kids will be learning about Gratitude – letting others know you see how they’ve helped you.  And YES…it is super appropriate to be talking about gratitude during November. 🙂

But I realized it is also appropriate to talk about gratitude and thankfulness right after Halloween.

Take the first example.  The cutie pie in the stroller.  Who (often unawares) allows someone else to “do the asking” and to “do the thanking.”  Do we do that?  Sit back comfortably and receive all the goodness God provides without ever really engaging in the process of prayerful requesting or heartfelt gratitude?

Or what about the older trick-or-treaters who went a bit crazy with my doorbell?  I realized with them that gratitude often begins before we actually ask for something.  With the way we approach the giver.  Or the “Giver.”  Are we demanding with God?  Not in a down-on-my knees, face-to-the-floor, Spirit-groaning-inside way, but a “Give this to me now God” way?
And then, when He showers us with all we have and don’t deserve, do we judgingly assess what we have received before running away to the next “thing/place/feeling” occasionally yelling a perfunctory “thanks” over our shoulders only if we got what we wanted?

Imagine, however, if we were all little ninja warriors.   Just enjoying the experience.  Not rushing through life running to the next ANYTHING.  Approaching God boldly yet reverently.  Our eyes bright and shining.  Looking up at our Heavenly Father with the assurance that He gives us GOOD gifts, welcomes us into His home and can be trusted.  With our empty-feeling plastic buckets of needs, hurts, fears.  With our hearts.  With our lives.

For with God, there are no tricks.

 

Only treats.

 

“Give thanks no matter what happens.  God wants you to thank Him because you believe in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIrV

In Christ,
Melinda Lamera